Laissez le bon temps rouler...King's Cake is believed to have originated in France around the 12th Century. In European countries, the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts for the Christ child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas (Feast of the Epiphany). The cakes are made round to represent the circular route that was used by the wise men. In early European cakes, a bean, a pea, or a coin was hidden in the dough (nowadays some folks use a tiny plastic baby available at party favour or cake supply stores). The person who found the item was declared king for a day, or was deemed to expect good luck in the coming year. King's Cake is most like a sweet bread, much like challah, and served in New Orleans around Mardi Gras.
Starting on the twelfth day after Christmas, king's cake parties continue until the day before the first day of Lent - Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). The New Orleans style king's cake is brightly decorated with traditional Mardi Gras colors. Purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power. Laissez le bon temps rouler - enjoy.